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European Astronauts Are Learning Chinese

The BBC had published a report that European astronauts received training in China, together with Chinese astronauts.

The training was conducted at the Yellow Sea Training Center, a place close to Yantai City in China’s eastern Shandong Province. For two weeks, German astronaut Matthias Maurer and another astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, both from the European Space Agency, lived and worked with their Chinese counterparts. “We received the training together, lived in the same building with the Chinese and ate the same food. Every day, the schedule was very full,” Maurer told the BBC reporter. “You feel that you are a member of this big family. It’s not like in Houston, where you had to rent a house yourself, and only spent two or three hours of training with your peers.”

Every space agency uses special training to strengthen team spirit, but the Chinese treat the issue in more fundamental way. Maurer said, “Chinese astronauts even go on vacation together. They know each other very well, just like brothers and sisters.” “When we were there, they regarded us as members of a big Chinese space family and we were like one.” Maurer started working at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany in 2012. He had a relationship with the representatives of the once-secret China manned space program. After one year, he visited the training center in Beijing. In 2016, Chinese astronauts took part in an experiment at the European Space Agency, where astronauts conducted a two-week long underground training in the caves of Sardinia. Maurer, Cristoforetti, and a French astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, are now learning Chinese. The European Space Agency still maintains relations with the United States and Russia, but at the same time it has developed a partnership with another future space power. The BBC reported that Maurer hopes to fly to the space station by 2020. Then in about 2023 he will have the opportunity to be a member of the first group of foreign astronauts to fly to the China Space Station together with Chinese astronauts.

Source: Sputnik News, July 3, 2018